Zuolie Deng, a Seattle artist, created a Chinese version of a pig at his studio in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. Photo courtesy of Market Foundation Twitter page.

Zuolie Deng, a Seattle artist, created a Chinese version of a pig at his studio in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. Photo courtesy of Market Foundation Twitter page.

Bellevue celebrates year of the pig with statue

A “sister” to Rachel, the Pike Place Market pig, Zhuzhu will be on display at city hall May 20-June 30.

A statue of a large golden pig will be on display at Bellevue City Hall this spring.

Seattle artist Zuolie Deng created a life-size, fiberglass pig, named Zhuzhu, for the Washington State Asian Pacific Education & Culture Foundation, Washington State Sichuan Friendship Association and Wing Luke Museum.

Zhuzhu is considered a “sister” to Rachel, the large bronze piggy bank permanently at Pike Place Market. However, unlike Rachel, Zhuzhu will be on display throughout the Puget Sound. So far, Zhuzhu has been seen during major events hosted by the Chinese community, such as a celebration at the Wing Luke Museum and the annual gala by the Hong Kong Business Association of Washington on Feb. 2, and the 37th anniversary of the Washington State Sichuan Friendship Association on March 2.

Zhuzhu has large red coins on her belly, ornate calligraphy on her back and bright pink peonies on her cheeks. Zhuzhu, which can be translated as “Golden Pearl,” symbolizes prosperity, good luck and longevity. The lunar calendar, with dates celebrated in much of Asia, follows a 12-year cycle, with a different animal for each year. 2019 is the year of the earthen or golden pig.

“This is the first time we will have a Chinese version of the famous pig. We are all very excited,” Deng said in a release.

Zhuzhu will be visiting several locations throughout the Puget Sound. Her next stop is Bellevue City Hall.

Sponsored by the city’s Diversity Advantage Initiative and Arts and Culture program, Zhuzhu will be on display from May 20-June 30.

Bellevue’s Diversity Advantage Initiative and Arts and Culture program celebrates diverse communities in Bellevue. In 2014, the Bellevue City Council adopted a new vision statement that said “Bellevue welcomes the world. Our diversity is our strength.” Through the statement, the city said it continues to welcome the world through cultural programming and community engagement opportunities.

Yurina Garcia Tellez, the city of Bellevue’s diversity outreach and engagement administrator, said having Zhuzhu at City Hall is important for the community.

“We’re really happy to have her come here and celebrate the lunar new year. Since over one third of Bellevue’s population is Asian, having Zhuzhu here shows representation and creates an environment of diversity and learning,” she said. “It’s an affirmation of the council’s vision.”

Visitors can see Zhuzhu on the first floor of City Hall any weekday, May 20-June 30. A free public lunch reception featuring Deng, the artist, will be held 12:30-2:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 30, at City Hall.

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